Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lowe's And Behold; Appeal For An Orange Derby Shopping Center

The aging process has not been true to the terminal Orange Derby Shopping Center.

Situated on (CT) Route 34, New Haven Avenue; en route to New Haven, located in a somewhat collapsed but hubristic "Connecticut's Smallest City" of Derby (the "downtown" is in the midst of some post-war torn look), just on the Orange line. The Shopping Center, which has been a long companion of the town, at least since the 1960's, has been withering away for decades and just recently became a near ghost town when plaza anchor Big K-Mart shut its Derby location down within the 2003 wave of closings within the state of Connecticut.

The Orange Derby Shopping Center is an active example of ill-adapted shift in the retail market over the ages which inevitably finds a victim - and frankly this one that has not adapted well with the times. The plaza, heavily marred with crackled, wavy, and uneven pavement certainly doesn't invite beyond it's heavy vacancy rates, seagulls (the unproclaimed bird of "the dead mall"), and a rest stop for truckers.

Having opened with Zayre; a discount department store who later folded under once rising rival Ames, not renewing it's placement in this location in the late 1980's. K-Mart, who most recently occupied the location left by Jordan Marsh, a department clothier, who opened shortly after the demise of Zayre closed all it's mostly mall-stationed anchor stores in 1996. K-Mart, according to a reader, found sanctuary after being displaced from a fallen Ansonia Mall in nearby Ansonia. After three-plus years of post-K; deteriorating, vandalism, and graffiti at the long-stationed shopping center, once neighbored by a Service Merchandise plaza in it's heyday will soon be completely demolished for yet another soulless, cookie-cutter retail cloner, Lowe's Home Improvement.

In the retail zodiac, 2007 is the year of the Lowe's.

Lowe's Home Improvement plans to occupy space currently and soon to be no longer held by the Orange Derby Shopping Center namesake. There are no plans if the future tenants will opt to remove the antique and characteristic road pylon which has been not only greeting those passing through Derby, but also a literal beacon for the residents who live behind and around the shopping center. There's good chance the sign will not be salvaged beyond Lowe's construction.

A once housed "Garden Shop" during the Big K years.

While stats continue to show Wal-Mart to be the top retailer, Lowe's has been creeping in more so in the top ten than it's competition around Connecticut. Lowe's has been quite well known, like its fellow rising retailers, for sweeping up many vacantly troubled retail sites and shopping center in the past few years, cleaning up much of the collapses of the end of the millennium which include many now long-gone retailers of the northeast like Caldor, Bradlees and even most recently Ames.

Entrances to one of the more unusual, non-original K-Mart stores.

A now rare design leftover variant from Zayre which included an overlaping, stucco facade and a gapped central where entrances are placed.

Just recently, The Caldor Rainbow has reported numerous new Lowe's stores coming this year on a few years vacant retail sites including one in Torrington on the site of the town's oldest plaza, Meriden; on the site of a four-plus year leftover from Ames. Stores have been popping up all over the place along with other rising retailers like the continually successful Wal-Mart, Target; who's continuing it's northeastern expansion, Kohl's and Home Depot to name some of the biggest players.

A mostly silent strip of shops hurt by the closure of major anchorage.

The New Haven Register reports the property owners are hoping for two more buildings in addition to Lowe's and their accompaning garden center. Upon Lowe's announcement, late 2006 and early this year, remaining tenants have slowly leaked out within the horizon of demolition plans. The future plaza does not plan to include the current or recently vacated tenants which include Fashion Bug, GNC, and a handful of smaller-owned shops and bakery; most of which have or are in agreement with the town's mayor for relocation plans elsewhere in town.

There's also no word on what might become of the two off-plaza restaurants; Burger King and nearby (old-school) Dunkin' Donuts; both of which seem likely to not be directly affected due to their remote locations across a somewhat dreary creek, far outside the central breaking grounds. The newly-revamped site sees a fast food restaurant, which will likely gauge
competition with Burger King .

Lowe's will undoubtably be getting to work very soon, after the hurdling wetlands negotiations are met so anyone who wants to see the plaza in it's last few months alive better get there soon.

The Caldor Rainbow must extend gratitude to one of our readers and New Haven area resident, Loki, who originally informed us about the plaza.

Make sure you check out the complete set on Yahoo! Photos to see more of Orange Derby Shopping Center; taken just yesterday March 12, 2007.